The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) School of Engineering has opened a new center with both a composite materials laboratory and a metals laboratory. The UAB Materials Processing and Application Development Center, or MPAD, is a facility where UAB will help industry design and test new materials, technologies, and applications. Home to a 6000-ft2 (557-m2) composite materials laboratory and 9000-ft2 (836-m2) metals laboratory, MPAD, which operates out of the UAB Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is said to be the largest academic research facility of its kind in the country. MPAD’s metals lab is still in its equipment installation phase but by late fall will begin to test new metals and alloys for improved, safer vehicle armor, among other projects. The lab will be capable of pouring 500-lb (227-kg) test castings. The MPAD composites lab was established in 2004 and already has developed new materials for use in military missile systems and new compounds to create lighter-weight seats, access doors, roof covers, and frames for municipal buses to make fleets more fuel-efficient.